First Fishing of 2018

It was finally possible to get out for some fishing this past weekend. The wave height was posted as 1 foot of less and I knew that meant I could get offshore and do some bottom fishing. I grew up doing nothing but trolling in salt water, but was introduced to bottom fishing a couple of years ago and I really enjoy it. This was also going to be a trip where we would be able to try out some of the enhancements made to the boat (rod holders).

Port Side Rod Holder

We decided to put in at Sherman Cove on the Navy base. Stephanie likes to be able to use the bathroom one last time before leaving shore and the marina has very clean restrooms. Sherman Cove also puts you just a mile from the Pensacola pass. Usually we launch further up Escambia Bay, but we figured we would try a little something different this time.

Starboard Side Rod Holder

After a bit of cruising, the water was nice, we arrived at the spot I like to fish. The trolling motor was lowered into the water and the bottom search began. Once located, anchor mode was enabled and I rigged up a line for Stephanie. She surprised me because she was really going to fish! After a few minutes she checked for bait and it was gone and about that time she started not feeling well.

In the mean time, I had rigged up a line. After her bait was gone, she didn’t want to keep fishing. It wasn’t until later that I got the full story. Stephanie had gotten full blown sea sickness with chills and all. I suppose the sitting in the middle of the ocean with the cork like action of our little boat didn’t go over very well. She toughed it out though and let me continue fishing.

First Fish

After about an hour, I had caught three Red Snapper and another trash fish. It would have been good for cutting up as bait or even throwing back in live on a hook. However, I had already decided the day would be a catch and release day and the Snapper were out of season.

I fished a little longer and then decided it was time to start heading back in. I was getting concerned about Stephanie. I knew she didn’t feel well at all and I had already asked her a time or two if she wanted to go back in. She was being a trooper and letting me get some fishing in and I didn’t like knowing she was not well.

Big Lagoon and Pensacola Pass

Once we started moving back towards shore Stephanie started feeling better. The closer to shore we got the better she was feeling. We decided to go check out Hub Stacey’s at The Point which involves a ride through Big Lagoon. I was OK with this because I really wasn’t quite ready to get off the water for the day. I had eaten there with friends last year and wanted to take Stephanie to check it out. She hadn’t enjoyed too much of the morning so I wanted her to at least get some enjoyment from our trip. Lunch turned out to be great. We shared a club sandwich and then headed back to Sherman Cove to end our day. All in all I would say this was a great day! I got to fish, spend time on the water, and had great company while doing so.

Getting Ready for 2018 Fishing

I know a lot of folks that fish do so year round. However, I am not that way. I haven’t yet had a chance to do any fishing this year, but I have spent a lot of time getting ready for the season. When spring came around I first washed off all the winter crud from the boat. Even though it is stored under a carport cover, it gets very dirty especially since I did not put the dust cover on this winter. It was extremely dirty…I used a bleach mix to get off the mildew build up that had accumulated and pressure washed the entire boat. The end result was pretty amazing, in my opinion.

The next thing was mechanical preparation. The water fuel separator was changed and the prop shaft cleaned and greased. I also decided it was time to check the wheel bearings. Now, I know better than to not grease the bearings, but I hadn’t pumped any grease in them since owning the boat and that has been nearly four years. So, I pulled off the hubs to perform an inspection. When I pulled them, the brake pads fell apart. This led to more necessary maintenance! The calipers were replaced on both wheels and both bearings were repacked and the hubs pumped full of grease. Lastly, I hit all the grease points on the engine.

After all the hard stuff was done it was time for some fun things!! I ordered a pair of rod holders to install. There are already rod holders, but they are the vertical ones on each side of the center console. When the bimini is up a really long rod is tough to get in and out. These holders allow three rods to be stored on each side. Previously, we would lay them on the floor and that was bad. I added a boga fish grip holder to the center console. Before, I was just sticking it on a rod holder. And finally, I constructed a protective cover for the trolling motor batteries inside the center console. Without the cover items could be laid on top of them and I didn’t care for that.

Finally, I stocked up on some fishing supplies. I purchased a new 4/0 Penn combo rod and spooled it with 40 lb mono, obtained a new carry bag and re-packaged my lead weights, stocked up on King Mackerel dusters, and got a leader line carrier and stocked it with two spools of 80 lb, 1 spool of 60 lb, and 1 spool of 40 lb. It is time to do some fishing!!